If you’re looking for rad world-building, a meticulous blend of science fiction and fantasy, and compelling characters, look no further than Plague Birds. To save her village, Crista becomes a plague bird, a powerful justiciar whose blood-bound to an AI. While there are conspiracies galore, the real danger hits much closer to home than initially anticipated.
A week before release, I’m excited to have author Jason Sanford visit the blog to talk about the origins of this intense story, his publishing journey, and what we can look forward to next.
Read an ARC from the author Content warning: blood, gore, body horror, self-harm for the purposes of magic, gaslighting, violence
You’ve heard of plague doctors, get ready for plague birds. Plague birds are people bonded with blood AI who exact justice by killing the wrong doer. They are very powerful and very feared. Crista bonds herself to one named Red Day and embarks on a journey to attempt to save her village from a rogue faction called the Veil. There are twists and turns and memory manipulation galore, while the real danger might be coming from inside the metaphorical house.
Deftly toeing the line between dark fantasy and science fiction, this book is perfect for those wanting to read compelling characters with science and technology that feels like magic.
The author Jason Sanford will be featured on the blog in an interview on September 14th, 2021.
The Wolf Among the Wild Hunt is an illustrated novella about Skythulf, neither man nor beast, who has to partake in the most dangerous hunt to get his honor back. This book is gory with metal illustrations hidden within its pages, with a rich sense of lore and mythology that appears both in passing and on page. I’m excited to host author Merc Fenn Wolfmoor to talk about how this novella came to be, including key pieces of inspiration, working with the artist, and what they’re working on next.
Genre: Adult Psychological Thriller Year Release: 2021 Source: Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: Drug abuse, suicide, bullying, rape (depicted), alcoholism, murder
PR manager Ambrosia “Amb” Wellington is invited to a college reunion, but there are so many skeletons buried within that closet and someone is bent on revealing the truth. What follows is a story told in dual timelines, the past and the present, as what looks like normal college debauchery turns into a matter of light and death. There are parties, there are hookups, there are gross boys and even more despicable girls. There’s a laser focus on the extracurriculars of college that felt uncomfortably true to life.
This book is one hell of an anti-bullying PSA. It’s not often we see the person who did the bullying as the protagonist, but the layers to it are hard to take your eyes of.
No Gods, No Monsters is a literary urban fantasy novel that’s a banger and a wild ride from start to finish. There’s several types of grief, there’s community building, cults, werewolf shifters, families falling apart, and much, much more. Heart-wrenching as it is poignant, this book is a treat for lovers of monster fiction and pointed social commentary alike.
I’m so thrilled to have author Cadwell Turnbull on this release day to talk about how he put the book together, from the various perspectives to the themes, and to talk about his publishing journey so far.
Genre: Adult Historical Nonfiction Year Release: 2005 Source: Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: Cannibalism, racism, starvation, dehydration, cannibalism, descriptions of whale butchering
This is the story that inspired Moby Dick. The whaleship Essex attempts to take down a sperm whale, but the sperm whale has other ideas and sinks the ship. What then goes down is a grisly tale of survival and survival cannibalism as the crew members float along the Pacific hoping for rescue. What also features in this narrative is a lot of contextualization of whaling as an international enterprise, the lives of the crew before the tragedy, and what became of them after.
With incredible pacing and thorough research, I found myself glued to this narrative from start to finish.
Read an ARC from the author Content warning: blood, gore, body horror
Skythulf is a scythewulf, neither a man nor a beast, who must serve the Wild Hunt in order to regain his honor after killing an impostor nun. Told in flashbacks in a world where myths come to life, this dark fantasy light novel is not one to miss.
The author Merc Fenn Wolfmoor will be featured on the blog in an interview on September 9th, 2021.
There is so much packed into this neat little horror package. The worldbuilding comes at you hard and fast, unfolding in vivid detail. Myths get introduced, stories told with folkloric prose, only to show up as character and plot events page later. It’s riveting and makes for a quick read, even with the short page count. The illustrations also lend a mythologic air to this story.
I also really enjoyed the relationships. There’s definitely a bit of a nature versus nurture when it comes to Skythulf and his thorniness. He has tenderness and honor in Brennus, and I loved the contrast in that relationship. One is very much of the world, while the other has been shunned by it. It’s beautiful amid the gory, violence pulled straight out of the aesthetics of Northern European folklore. I think what also helps is that the world is gentle towards those who are queer, and this bit of kindness doesn’t conflict with the otherwise intense story and world Wolfmoor presents.
Read an ARC from the publisher Content warning: death by police officer, discrimination-based violence, guns, drug abuse, drug addiction, cannibalism, suicide
This book has everything. It’s got shifters, conspiracy theories, communities coming together, families falling apart, time skips, parallel universes, and the meaning of truth in light of things incomprehensible. Turnbull delivers another genre masterwork that this time blends literary fiction with urban fantasy, where werewolves and weredogs exist alongside humans, some of which want to ascend to godhood.
With heart-wrenching prose and deft navigation of several POVs, No Gods, No Monsters is a wild ride that I didn’t want to end.
Genre: Adult Fantasy Year Release: 2021 Source: Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: Immolation, suicide, drug abuse and recovery, sibling abuse, gaslighting, execution by elephant, homophobia (both internal and external)
Malini’s tyrant of a brother locked her up in the Hirana, a decaying temple, and Priya is one of the many servants employed to take care of her. But when Malini witnesses the secret Priya tries to hide, the two form a tense alliance which can change the structure of an empire forever.
This book has so many things: swoony writing, intricate politics, kind people at the end of their rope, thorough depictions of the different political and social strata. There’s also plant magic, waters with mystical regenerative properties, mythologies that contradict, a magical plague, and then some. It’s a treat for any fantasy lover.
Genre: Adult Horror Year Release: 2018 Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: abuse, Crohn’s disease, parental neglect, attempted murder, hitting a child, gaslighting, burning
Usually when there is a horror trope of an evil child, the kid is either possessed or we see the entire thing from the parent’s point of view. In this book, we get the point of view of the mother, Suzette, and the daughter, Hannah. Suzette has Crohn’s disease, body image issues, and really wants a life that isn’t being a stay at home mother. Hannah, meanwhile, has been expelled from several kindergartens and refuses to speak. Something dark lurks beneath and she wants her mother out of the picture.
Baby Teeth is designed to make the reader deeply uncomfortable with sharp prose that’s intense from start to finish.